Chapter 1- The End of Peace Edit
"Borrus! Borrus! I see the tooth! Come quickly," exclaimed Strinx.
"Yes dear," Borrus moaned. As he moved closer, he noticed the small crack beginning to form from the egg tooth. A large sigh left Borrus' beak as the pure white egg began to roll back and forth.
"Make sure to protect the entrance to the hollow. We don't want it falling out on us"
"Yes dear" Borrus sighed. "That egg won't be able to fall into the sea. I promise."
"I'm bettin' it's a girl. What do you think it is?” Strinx asked.
"I honestly don't care. If it's female, she will become the new mate to the king, and if it's male, he will be like his father and become a guardian. Either way, it will still have a special role to play in the tree." He turned his body away towards the entrance of the hollow and dropped his shoulders. A cool breeze swept across his face and into the hollow. The egg shook ferociously.
"Borrus. You've seemed so distant lately. What's been on your mind? Are you upset that our chick is being born tonight?"
"No. It's not that. It's just that...," he stopped at the sound of a shell breaking and rotated his head all the way around. On the floor were two pieces of egg shell and a pink blob covered in a thick, clear liquid.
"Bless my gizzard! It's a girl!" Strinx hooted. "Help me clean her off and put her onto the down I've prepared," but Borrus did not move. He was transfixed upon the the pink creature with bulging black eyes. He could hear every single slow heartbeat that it was producing. Slowly, the owlet opened it's eye and stared directly into it's father's eyes. He thought that the owlets eyes seemed to glow. Deep down in his gizzard he knew that there was something special about this owl. He continued staring until Strinx had lifted her wing in front of his face, causing him to lose all concentration on the chick. "Borrus! Didn't you hear a word I said? Help me clean her off and set her on the down. I need the place to be clean as well if we expect to hold a celebration here."
"That's right. The First Insect Ceremony. I remembered." Borrus helped clean up the hollow, occasionally bumping into the nest maid every once and awhile.
"There's something wrong with that fellow," the blind snake said.
"Who? My chick? That can't be."
"No. That oaf of an owl husband of yours. There's something he ain't tellin' you," the nest maid said.
"Borrus. Well, you are correct. I could tell he was hiding something from me." She looked over at her husband who was plucking more down from his breast.
"Syvilla," Borrus said, "Mealworms again. Mind if you help clear out the nest?"
"No problem, Borrus. I'll eat them up right away." The blueish/green snake slithered over to the nest where the chick slept. By now, what had been a pink alien with a big head was now a white puffy ball. Borrus once again looked at his daughter. This chick is special, Borrus thought to himself. One day you will grow strong like your father, while I grow weak. I will protect you and you will protect me, but Borrus’ thoughts were interrupted when he noticed a large shadow hang over him.
“Borrus. Knight and Guardian to the tree. How are you my brother?”
“Kal! So you did decide to show up. I thought you were posted in Silverveil with Rennee?”
“Well we’re supposed to be, but our deployment was canceled so we decided to see our niece. How’s she doin’ by the way?” Kal asked.
“Wonderful, I guess. She hasn't eaten yet so I’m guessing she’s hungry. Wait, where’s Rennee and Strinx?”
“Outside the hollow. They haven’t seen each other in a while. Not since she completed her training.” For the past two years, Rennee was training in combat and defense up in the Northern Kingdoms so she could become a guardian herself. "It's satisfying to see them together again. Now lets begin the ceremony, shall we?"
“That sounds like a wonderful idea!” Strinx shouted. “Syvilla, do you have the cricket prepared?”
“Prepared and ready to serve for the youngin, and as a gift for the celebration I’ve made some milkberry tea for everyone else.”
“Ohh you’re too kind Syvilla. You should enjoy some too.”
“Not gunna happen, madam. Milkberry tea makes my insides turn inside out. It’s best if I don’t drink any at all.”
“Wait! We can’t start without the prince! I thought his highness would be here by now.”
“I’m here! I’m here! Hold on don’t start without me!” a tiny voice screeched. Outside the hollow an immense barn owl flew into the hollow, carrying the young prince in its talons.
“Your highnesses. Welcome to our hollow,” Strinx and Borrus said in unison.
“Thank you for inviting us. Now, where’s my new daughter-in-law?” Queen Siv asked.
“Right over here. She’s still a bit drowsy so be quiet, ok?” Strinx said
“Ok!” Coryn shouted. “Oh, sorry.” At that moment, the young prince hovered over the chick and starred. “What’s her name?’’ Coryn asked.
“Kyra,” Strinx replied, “after my mother”
“It’s a beautiful name” Siv said.
“Kyra’s going to be your mate when you two grow up.” Strinx said. She could tell that the young prince still didn’t know what the word “mate” meant or what it meant to him, but he still smiled at the idea of being with Kyra.
“Well, now that everyone’s here let’s finally begin.” Strinx grabbed the cricket and headed towards Kyra. “Time to eat, little one. Headfirst. Never start with the rear. That’s it. Now swallow.” Kyra did so and ended with a large gulp and made a grumbling noise.
“It’s all gone!” Coryn hooted with excitement. “I did the same just like her when I was like that, right mum?”
“Exactly” Kyra looked up from under her wing and stared at everyone. She then directed her attention to Coryn.
“Hi Kyra. My name’s Coryn and I know well be the best of friends,” the young prince said. She looked up at him and squawked in a faint tone that sounded like “Hi Coryn”. The prince smiled and then churred at the idea that the chick knew how to say his name.
Later that night after all of the owls had finished their milkberry tea and cooked vole, they all said goodbye to the new family. Kyra once again fell asleep to the smell of milkberries while Borrus, Strinx, and Syvilla reorganized the hollow.
“Look at her Borrus. She’s growing faster than any owl I’ve seen,” Strinx said.
“Indeed. It looks like she’s already molting her down, but we all know that’s impossible,” Syvilla added.
“I don’t know about that one, Syvilla. There have been cases of owl’s with Ga’ and they’re said to be able to do anything.
“Oh! You mean like when the late king Coryn retrieved the magical ember from one of the volcanoes in the Beyond? I loved hearing that story growing up.”
“Well of course! He had real Ga’, and I’m bettin’ Kyra has it too.”
“You really think so Borrus?” Strinx questioned.
“Without a doubt. When I looked into her eyes, they seemed to glow luminously. I think that’s a sign.” Too bad I don’t get to see those eyes for much longer he thought. He turned himself around and almost fell over his talons. Right in front of him, Kyra was awake and staring directly at him. “Kyra! You bout’ scared your father.”
“I’m sorry, Da. I won’t do it again. I promise.” Now everyone was staring at Kyra.
“Kyra, you talked. You talked! But…. you… you were just born today. How could that be?” Strinx took another look at her daughter and gasped. “By Glaux name your molting and your primaries are coming in.” Primaries were the largest and longest feathers on an owl’s wing. These allowed them to fly silently through the night. Kyra looked at herself confused.
“Ma, aren’t I’m supposed to be doing this?”
“Yes but not now, not this fast.”
“Is there something wrong with me Ma?” Strinx moved in closer to Kyra.
“No. Nothing at all. You’re fine, just a bit fast with growth.” Kyra looked down at herself. She was now twice as big than she was at the beginning of the night. “Borrus. I think that it’s time that we should get some shuteye. Kyra’s had a big day and so have we.”
“Agreed. We all need rest.” So with his final word, Kyra went to sleep. However, Borrus and Strinx went outside on a nearby perch while Syvilla stayed inside.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with her Borrus. She’s not like any owl I’ve seen, and what’s with that pattern on her chest? It’s so strange. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
“I don’t know what either. Maybe it is Ga’.”
“Strinx. There’s been something that I’ve been meaning to tell you.”
“Yes. It was the way you were acting earlier this night. I could tell right away.”
“Anyway.... I... “ He hesitated. “I was assigned to the Beyond. That’s where my new post is. I have to leave at twilight tonight. I wanted to tell you this earlier but there were complications.”
“Did you discuss it with the council?”
“Yes, but they denied my request. I can’t get out of it.”
“How long will you be gone?”
“Five moons, and possibly longer.”
“But then you’ll miss all of the other ceremonies and Kyra’s first flight.” Borrus looked out and sighed.
“It will be hard, but I will try to visit as much as possible. I’m not going to let Kyra grow up without a father.”
“That’s the spirit, Borrus. But takes about three nights to travel from here to the Beyond. I think we should meet up in Silverveil when Kyra can fly. That would be better.”
“That’s a brilliant idea, Strinx. That’s one of the reasons why I chose you. A brilliant mind with a brilliant gizzard.”
“Thank you darling,” Strinx yawned, “but I think I too need some rest. It’s a bit past sunrise.”
“You’re right. I rather not be late. The earlier the better.”
Later that night, Borrus headed northwest towards the Beyond the Beyond without telling Strinx or Kyra goodbye. Strinx could feel a sadness start to fill her heart. She knew that she could handle herself and Kyra but she would be doing everything without Borrus. For a while, Strinx perched on a nearby branch and stared off into the distance, admiring the tree that stood next to her. Over the past fifty years the tree has grown larger, allowing more owls to live and take refuge there. Strinx’s family arrived at the tree when Strinx was still an egg, but she quickly became accustomed to the life of living and taking care of the tree and all of the owls of Ga’Hoole. Nowadays, Strinx is a scholar under the teachings of Lyzeryb, a Northern Screech owl and descendant of the great ryb Ezylryb who taught weather interpretations and the basics of colliering. It was only a few moons ago that Strinx met Borrus and they fell in love almost immediately. It was this love that would keep her going.
Kyra woke up to see that both of her parents were missing from the hollow. She got up, yawned, and walked towards the entrance of the hollow.
“Ma! Where are you?” the young chick screeched. She poked her head out even more. Strinx was still in a daze and did not hear her daughter's question.
“Miss Kyra, please stay away from the entrance. You’ll fall!” but Kyra did not hear the snakes plea and continued forward.
“Ma! Ma! Where ar-” Kyra stopped shouting as soon as she realized that she was now outside of the hollow and heading straight down towards that sea. As she was falling, she felt a sensation she had never felt before. She looked down, then up, and then down again and noticed that her wings were spread out. Am I flying? she thought to herself. But soon enough she felt two large claws grasp around her waist. She now knew that she had not been flying, but but slowly gliding towards the sea.
“Kyra! What in Glauxs’ name were you thinking? You’ve could’ve killed yourself,” Strinx and Syvilla shouted in unison.
“I was scared. I couldn’t find you or Da.”
“Oh silly little owlet. Don’t worry about it. It’s my fault for not looking after you. But you have to be carefull. you can’t rely on me for everything you know. There will be a time when I won’t be around to help you.”
“Ma, where’s Da?”
“He’s away now.”
“When will he come back?
“I’m not sure,” Strinx sighed. “Hopefully he’ll be back before your first flight.”
“I miss him.” She rubbed up against her mother's breast and churred softly. Kyra did not want to ask where her father was for she could sense that her mother’s gizzard was trembling with sadness: a sadness that Kyra did not feel, but she refused to ask.
“Well look at that! Your primaries are fully grown. Amazing!” Syvilla said. “Maby we could try branching today.”
“I think that’s a little too much, Syvilla. She’s only two days old.”
“But she looks and acts as if she was a month old. I bet she’ll do great.”
“I guess you’re right. We’ll try later but first let’s eat. Syvilla, if you don’t mind.”
“Already on it, madam. I’ll be back in a jiff!” and the snake left the hollow and slithered her way towards the bottom of the tree. Strinx observed Kyra as she played around with the owlipoppen, a small toy given to an owlet. Syvilla had made the owlipoppen for Kyra almost two moons ago. As Kyra was playing with the toy, she noticed a sudden drop in the temperature along with a large gust of air. She stopped playing and walked over to the entrance of the hollow. In the distance she noticed a large black mass form at the horizon.
“Ma, what’s that over there? I’m getting a bad feeling about it,” Kyra said.
“Oh that. That’s just a storm. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“But I see owls. Many owls.” Strinx took another look.
“I don’t know what you’re talk-” She stopped mid sentence. In the distance were hundreds of owls all wearing metal helmets and armed with metal scimitars and battle claws, and they were heading straight towards the tree. “Kyra listen to me. Hide under that pile of moss and down and don’t move.”
“No. I’ll fight alongside you.”
“Kyra listen to me! You are too important to lose in battle. You need to hide!” Kyra stared into her mother’s black eyes and understood why she had to hide. “Don’t worry. I’ll protect you.”
As the black mass of owls drew near, commands were given to prepare.
“Arm yourselves and protect the owlets and the weak. We mustn't allow them to reach the tree,” a Guardian shouted. Within a few seconds guardians of all sizes gathered at the front of the tree.
“Prepare the net!” another one said, and almost instantly a large net was cast out over the tree. The net was a new safeguard system the the blacksmith Eylan had devised. The net was created from woven vines with little shards of metal intertwined within it so that if any owl were to get caught in the net, they would receive small lacerations all over the body, causing the owl to be tangled up within the net and bleed out. Now a large wall had encased the outside of the tree.
“Two arms!” Queen Siv screeched.
“Two arms!” the army replied. The Guardians raced forward and advanced on the opposing side. Strinx had stayed within the hollow, making sure that no one would get to Kyra. In the distance, owls fell from the sky and into the sea below, but Strinx could not tell who was a guardian or a foe. Suddenly while Strinx was focused on the battle, a huge Barn Owl entered the hollow and struck Strinx. She fell back, but got up and rammed her body into the other owl. She aimed one more time for him but it was too late. He had enough time to raise his battle claws and slice at her throat. Silence filled the hollow as warm blood streaked down Strinx’s peppered chest and on to the hollow floor. With a last and final sigh Strinx fell to the floor.
“Ma!” Kyra shouted and ran towards her deceased mother. “Ma! You have to get up and protect me. You have to be awake for when Da gets back!” but sadly, there was no response. Kyra burrowed her face into her mother’s chest and began to weep, but this would not last long. The massive owl swatted at Kyra and she flew across the hollow and hit the wall. The owl moved in closer.
“Now that she’s out of the way, I can finally take you,” the owl said in a coarse voice. He moved up closer and was almost about to grab her, but he was pulled back and thrown out of the hollow. Kyra looked up and almost went yeep. Right in front of her was her father, armed with battle claws and had a blood streak running alongside his face.
“Kyra. We have to get out of here now. Leave your mother’s body behind. I’ll carry you away from here.” However the reunion would not last long as Borrus was pulled out of the hollow.
“Da!” Kyra shouted as she ran towards the entrance. She looked down to see her father holding onto a single branch with one claw holding onto the branch, and the other with the other owl.
“Kyra. You need to fly over to that other branch and escape. My wings broken and I can’t fly. You need to go now!”
“But I can’t leave you and Ma. You’ll fall into the sea if you don’t get help.”
“Kyra. It’s alright. I’ll be fine. Trust me. Now, fly to that branch.” Kyra looked down at her father and noticed a single tear fall down his face. She then looked up to see if she could branch over to a nearby branch, but there wasn’t one in reach. She looked down to tell her father but he wasn’t there anymore. Kyra felt her heart sink and her gizzard quiver. She had just lost both of her parents in a matter of minutes, and both died trying to save her. She knew that she had to listen to her father’s advice, but where could she fly to? There wasn’t a single branch within five feet of her, but when she looked over, she realized that it was too late. Another Barn owl had snatched her up in it’s talons and carried her away across the sea and into new lands she had never known about. Along the way she tried to set herself free but to no avail. On the fourth night they had reached their destination. Kyra shuddered at the glimpse of the barren land that had been covered in little grass and an orange liquid that Kyra had never seen before. In the distance she could see five massive mounds of earth that rose to the sky and spewed the same orange liquid from before.
The Owl threw Kyra onto a ledge along with several other owlets, all of them being Barn Owls and Sooty Owls. Kyra had searched the group for any signs of familiar faces. Specifically Coryn, but his face never showed up in the group. Kyra looked around the group to see if there was an exit for her but never found one. At this point, all of the owlets were calling for their mothers and fathers to come and rescue them, but their pleas would never be heard. In the front of the group of owls that stood guard, a single Barn Owl stood in front of the owlets. Kyra could tell from the size and stature of the owl that it was a male with a speckled brown/orange coat even though he was wearing a helmet.
“Owlets please calm down. We are not here to harm you. We wanted to save you from the evil owls of Ga’Hoole,” the owl said. “We came and rescued you, so in return, I, Kal, Lord and Supreme High Tyto, ask you to join my army and defeat the Owls of Ga’Hoole once and for all.”